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The Universal Appeal of Thiruvalluvar Popularised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Twitter message paid tribute to poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar. It may be common among political leaders to wish on the occasion of birthdays of prominent people. But PM Modi’s interests in the works of Thiruvalluvar is not momentary. It reflects the deep respect he has for Tamil culture.

In July 2020 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Ladakh to interact and lend support for the soldiers amidst tensions with China, he quoted Thiruvalluvar to inspire the forces.

Quoting the line from the celebrated work Tirukkural, “Maramanam manda vazhichelavu thetram yena nangey yemam padaikku”, PM Modi explained, that the tradition and credibility of valour, honour, dignified behaviour, these four qualities are the reflection of the army of any country. Indian forces have always followed this path.

Back in April 2018, while taking part in the Defence Expo in Tamil Nadu, PM Modi won applause when he quoted Thiruvalluvar. He recalled the couplet- “Thottanaith thoorum manarkeni maandharku, kattranaithu thoorum arivu,” then went on to explain the essence. “In sand and soil the deep you delve you reach the spring below. The more you learn the freer streams of wisdom flow,” he said.

PM Modi’s interests and interpretations of Thiruvalluvar’s work is not limited on the defence/military front. When he announced the Jal Jeevan Mission in his Independence Day speech of 2019, he quoted the couplet by the poet and philosopher “Neer indri Amayadhu” to underscore the importance of water. “if water starts disappearing, then nature’s processes get disrupted and eventually come to an end. This initiates the process of total destruction.” He explained the meaning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not limiting Thiruvalluvar to the state of Tamil Nadu, and always highlights the universal appeal of the poet saint.

In 2015, PM Modi released the Gujarati translations of Thiruvalluvar’s work. On the occasion he said, “The ideas expressed in ‘Thirukkural’ are so universal that even after almost two millennia they are still relevant and revered. ‘Thirukkural’ does not refer to any nation, leader, society, language, religion or caste in the entire book, which is why it has been called the universal Veda.”

In 2019, releasing the Thai version of Thirukkural, he explained how Thiruvalluvar’s ideas serve as guiding light to life beyond boundaries.

The universal appeal of Thiruvalluar which is inherent in the work of great poet is extensively getting popularised by PM Modi in recent times. Which is perhaps the best tribute for any saint on Thiruvalluvar day.